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Broadband - How Fast?

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Oddjob28/01/2010 14:11:02
1635 forum posts
79 photos
There has been some discussion about broadband speeds in another thread so I decided to have a play.
Over about 45 minutes this morning I ran several web based broadband speed tests - 25 tests in all - using 9 different test sites.  (I just typed dufferent there instead of different - maybe I shouldn't have amended it!
The download speeds indicated ranged from 3.1mbs to 6.45mbs with a pretty even spread in between.
The upload speeds ranged from 270kbs to 490kbs again evenly spread.
So, what is my broadband speed?  Answer - I haven't a clue and, it seems, neither has anyone else!
I am about one crow flight mile (1.5 by BT route) from the telephone exchange so I don't expect to get the "up to 8mbs" indicated by my ISP  (Talktalk) but I would like to know what i do really get - if only so that I can complain with some authority!
Delete28/01/2010 19:57:46
575 forum posts
The problem you have hit is a real chestnut. How long is a piece of string. As you know there are a lot of speed test sites. I supose you need to say are you buying or selling. If you want to have a good grouse at Talk Talk then use the slow one. If you want some bragging rights use the fast one. If you want to be super fair. Use them all and average the results. That has to be a reasonable answer.
One of the major problems is not your speed but that of the server you are connecting to. You can only down load data as fast as they can give it to you. If they are slow then you  will think it is your connection. 
As for the distance you are from your Exchange as you say 1 mile straight recon 1.5 miles of copper. That may be the case or it could be even more. In the past when phone lines were scarce the cables could be routed in all sorts of obscure directions. Sometimes because a developer was building a new esstate. so a new cable got put in that direction and then there was an extension going off towards somewhere else the branching back in another direction. Its not impossible for a 1mile to be 3 or 4 times that distance. Not always but sometimes.
Then there is the quality of the connections if you have overhead wires they blow around in the wind and can suffer some stressing.
The underground cables can suffer from all types of peculiar problems from Rabbits Rats and Ants. I have seen ants fill a terminal frame with dirt and that will not help your connection. 
One alternative is to have a system like my daughter has in the USA they are in Colorado and they have a Satelite link for Broad Band For phones they use their Cell phones No landline where they live. Their speed is not as good as I have but it is consistent.
As a matter of interest I used to have OneTel which got bought up by Talk Talk their service was C**p so I went to Toucan and after a year or so they went the same way as One Tel /Talk Talk.
I am now with a company called Eclipse  and have been with them for over 2 years. I have not had one complaint the price is right and they do not use foreign call centres. Their call center is in Exeter and they are 100% good. For any one thinking of a change they are worth considering.
Sparky28/01/2010 21:10:55
7631 forum posts
22 photos
According to Virgin's speeds.
Broadband speeds.....
UPTO 2MB (Medium and not used anymore)
Download speed = 2048kbps or 256kb/s
Upload speed      = 200kbps or 25kb/s
UPTO 10MB (lowest speed for Virgin now)
Download speed = 10240kbps or 1280kb/s
Upload speed      = 512kbps or 62.5kb/s
UPTO 20MB ( Middle speed available) 
Download speed = 20480kbps or 2560kb/s
Upload speed      = 768kbps or 96kb/s
UPTO 50MB (Fastest speed in UK)
 No information for this speed.
Provider Speeds
Virgin Media ('up to' 10Mbit/s) 8.1 to 8.7Mbit/s)
AOL ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 3.3 to 3.9Mbit/s
BT ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 3.8 to 4.2Mbit/s
O2 ('up to' 8Mbit/s)* 4.1 to 5.1Mbit/s
Orange ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 3.8 to 4.5Mbit/s
Plusnet ('up to' 8Mbit/s)* 3.8 to 4.9Mbit/s
Sky ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 4.0 to 4.7Mbit/s
Talk Talk ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 3.8 to 4.6Mbit/s
Tiscali ('up to' 8Mbit/s) 3.2 to 3.7Mbit/s

 Hope this helps

Oddjob29/01/2010 08:27:06
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Thanks Marc
They would say that wouldn't they!  I was always brought up to believe that "Self Praise is no Recommendation."
Virgins quoted speeds for their own service are based on fibre optic cables.  These are not available in most of the country yet.  Many reviewers on the net say that even with the Virgin service they get nowhere near the quoted 'up to' figures.
Alan T.29/01/2010 10:47:12
1033 forum posts
98 photos
Hi Guys,
                 I did much the same tests on my system (talktalk up to 8mbs)
                 downloads were 2.82 mbs and uploads were 0.37 mbs on average
                  woefully short of the claimed maximum. Also the system shuts down after 20 minutes or so showing a message 'your session has ended' log in again. If I was composing a letter I would lose the contents and have to start again. if I have a real problem and have to speak to 'technical help' in India I take the paracetamol first. For the most part the so called experts know less about it than me and are clearly reading from provided stock reply cards. Their command of the English language leaves a lot to be desired too.  Alan T

Edited By Alan T. on 29/01/2010 11:04:31

Julian29/01/2010 11:27:50
556 forum posts
28 photos
There are a lot of speed checkers around that can be used. The speed of connection will as has been said before be dependant on the quality of your phone line. 1.5 miles from the exchange could be 4-5 miles of overhead cable, the important thing will be the resistive load that the exchange switch sees on your line.  If you can get into your router, have a look at your actual connection speed. Once you have this to hand and you think it should be faster have a chat with your provider as they will be able to contact BT (BT are still the main contractor for the cabling to your house in most cases) and they may be able to balance the pair that you are using, this will effectivly reduce the resistance (I won't use the word impedence as most people won't know what it is) of the line giving you a faster speed. They can also adjust the gain of the signal which can also improve the speed.
Best of luck !  If I had 2Mb I would be over the moon, after BT had done all the business on my line I got 725Kb as the maximum speed. Saying that it does everything that I need it to do even watching the GW TV clips.
Delete29/01/2010 18:10:50
575 forum posts
The fibre is now nation wide to most exchanges. however it is not down to street level. The reason is Fibre can carry a massive ammount of data and calls. the copper is perfectly adequate for most domestic use.
We mst not read into claims data which is not there. When an ISP states a speed Up To, it means exactly that. The speed might be up to that speed if you ar on top of the exchange. The further away. the more connections in the copper a failing filter a slow computer (because you have put a load of rubbish on it, you will not consider it as rubbish) A slow server which you are accessing. All this goes to slow down your data.
When I first started working with computer communications in the early 1970's the best we could get was 300 Baud and that was with dedicated lines that were ballanced. Into the bargain the Modem was about 16 inches cubed weighed half a hundred weight or so it seemed. Things have improved a little since then.If you have 2 meg then you are probably doing quite well and for unless you are downloading videos should be fast enough. If you are downloading Videos then I ask if you should be ( thinking about copyright)
Sparky29/01/2010 18:32:08
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Hi Ron
I think its about time with all this technology that something else is made to conquer these problems.........I think we only have these problems because the firms are racking in so much money that its not viable to advance............if we had such a great service from all different firms, it would be a lot cheaper and not so many problems with it..........obviously making a lot of employees redundant.
Just think in 25 years what we will be using then!
Oddjob29/01/2010 19:58:07
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Well Gents - that brought a few interesting comments but unfortunately non actually relative to the question I was asking.
Let me say firstly that I am reasonably happy with my connection speed it is better and more reliable than many that I am aware of.  I just wanted to know how fast it actually is - only as a matter of curiosity.
To this end I ran a total of 25 tests on 9 different sites and got widely varying answers.  To me this proves that most of the tests are pretty useless and I still don't know how fast my connection is.
Julian - you say "There are a lot of speed checkers around that can be used.  Yes, I am aware of that as I explained - the problem is that they produce loads of different answers.  More interestingly you also say "If you can get into your router, have a look at your actual connection speed."  Does this mean that there is a measuring device inside the box that can be viewed or that the speed can be measured electronically through the router operating system?  

Sparky29/01/2010 20:30:00
7631 forum posts
22 photos
If you hover your mouse over the connection icon, you should see exactly what your receiving. If you right click it and choose 'Status', your see more info.
Mine is 54.0mbps but that is through a wireless G router, if it was N+, it may be higher......and this is having 'upto' 10mb.
George Arnold30/01/2010 14:49:58
1834 forum posts
191 photos
I did that and find the speed is 100Mbps, I to have up to10mb. I see I can  get up to 50mb  if I go on another  tariff.
Ps It's still double dutch to me! Oh and I still can't find out why when I press a key on the computor when I check the script, it has printed the next letyer.
Delete30/01/2010 20:25:59
575 forum posts
As i said in my earlier post.. The speed you can communicate has only a small ammount to do with the quoted ISP speed.
First lets look at the History of Telephone Line communications. Before we all started to get PC's Industry was using telephone lines to connect computers to Terminals in remote offices. THe first two companies in the market were Autonomics and IBM. Autonomics were the first to get the customers on line in 1971. However they went Bust before IBM got their system up and running. The data rate then was 300 Baud. Thats 300 bits of data per second. In 1990 Modems were allowing communications at 25 K Bytes, a byte consiste of 8 bits. SO the data stream was moving 25 thousand bytes of 8 bits each per second. At that time it seemed a lot but the modem soon was upgraded to give 56K. Then when broad band started we had 512 K (1/2 Meg). Quite recently 2meg was good then the systems were ungraded to 8 meg and so on. Virgin are a diferent story because they use the Fiber cabes laid for cable TV, so does not count.
To get the higher speeds several things had to happen. the long distance comms between the exchanges had to go over to fiber. The exchanges had to be fitted with Broadband cards which in the early days were only capable of the slower speeds. As time has gone by the techonology has improved and the speeds have gone up. This has cost money because the cards fitted in the first place have had to be replaced. This has now been done in a lot of exchanges but may not be in every exchange.
You are still governed by the speed of your computer and the speed of the server sending you the data. that may well have more effect on the data speeds that the ISP or the exchange. The quality of the phone wire and the leingth of the wire to the exchange also has a big part to play. The longer the wire the slower the comms.
Does that make sense. Any questions?
Delete30/01/2010 20:31:05
575 forum posts
To try and answer your question . The speed checkers do give differing results. what should matter to you is do you have to wait for a page to load or does it appear quickly If you ask for a page and it is there then you cant better that. If you have to wait for 30 seconds for the page then that is too long
The only time a superfast connection is a must is if you download DVD's or are into online gaming.
Otherwise dont worry and dont sign up for UP TO silly numbers for a higher price save some money
John Kinch30/01/2010 21:56:08
206 forum posts
91 photos
Marc, sorry to seem so dumb but where on the screen do I find the connection icon? I have hovered my mouse over every item on the screen but can't find it.
                John kinch.
Sparky30/01/2010 22:17:51
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Hi John
Usually you'll find it bottom right of your the clock.
Depending on what system your running (windows XP, vista) and if your settings are set for it, your see a little computer with a couple of sound waves running from the right.
(If you click on the picture, it will open up larger).
Hover over that.

Edited By sparky on 30/01/2010 22:20:48

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